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  • 執筆者の写真Kayoko Tsuchiya

# 3. WMS2023 Japanese Speaker Introduction. Kazuhiro Sakurai, CEO of Asahi Shuzo


Producer of DASSAI BLUE, and Faces of the Year" in the 2021 Forbes JAPAN 100 list.

A sake brewery nestled in the rural landscapes of Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan, has weathered numerous critical business challenges with an unwavering spirit of innovation. Kazuhiro Sakurai, the 4th generation CEO of Asahi Shuzo, talks about remarkable journey stands as one of the most inspiring success stories particularly considering the traditional and time-honored nature of the sake industry, which often seems distant from the realms of innovation. Yet, time and again, they have demonstrated that innovation is possible.

Today, their sales have surged, increasing over 200-fold, as they flourish in the global market. Their recent venture into opening a sake brewery in New York is a testament to their vision and determination to share their exceptional sake with the world.

Here is the CEO Profile Kazuhiro Sakurai, born in 1976 in Shuto Town, Yamaguchi Prefecture (now part of Iwakuni City), is the President and CEO of Asahi Shuzo Co., Ltd. He is the fourth-generation master brewer. After graduating from Waseda University with a degree in social sciences, he initially worked at a Tokyo-based company unrelated to the sake industry. It was during his time at a Tokyo izakaya that he became aware of the exquisite taste of "Dassai."

In 2006, he returned to his family's business, joining Asahi Shuzo as an executive officer. He later assumed the role of Vice President in 2013, focusing on international marketing, particularly in establishing a foundation for overseas expansion in New York. In September 2016, he took on the role of President and CEO, becoming the fourth-generation master brewer.

His influence extends beyond the world of sake, as he was recognized as one of the "Faces of the Year" in the 2021 Forbes JAPAN 100 list. In the spring of 2023, a brewery in Hyde Park, New York will be completed. Just like in Japan, they will produce sake exclusively from Yamada Nishiki rice, and they will begin sake production in the United States, using the brand name "DASSAI BLUE."





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